Back pain affects millions of people around the world, irrespective of age and background. It can appear in different ways and is caused by various factors, ranging from poor posture to underlying medical conditions.
Coping with back pain is challenging. However, there are many different ways to treat and alleviate it. Having knowledge of different conditions that cause back pain helps in diagnosing and treating them effectively. Let’s explore the diverse origins of back pain and their causes surrounding muscular strains, spinal issues, and some other factors that contribute to this widespread problem.
Knowing about back pain surely makes a difference before you visit a spine doctor. It will help you to understand your exact back pain problem and enable you to make informed decisions.
Most people who suffer from whiplash have neck pain, but in some cases, it may extend to their upper back, based on the severity. Most of the time, this acute pain subsides within two to three months.
Whiplash is a kind of neck injury caused by sudden and vigorous to-and-fro head movements. These injuries are commonly observed in car accidents, sports injuries, roller coaster rides, etc.
In mild cases, you can take pain relievers or apply a cold or hot compress to the affected area for 15 minutes once every three hours. If the pain doesn’t go away, see a back doctor.
Back sprains and strains (Muscle strains and lumbar sprains)
A muscle strain is a common injury that happens when your tendon or muscle becomes overstretched and tears. It is also known as a “pulled muscle.” Similarly, a lumbar sprain is defined as the overstretching or tearing of a tendon or ligament.
These two back pain problems might have identical symptoms, but they are two different conditions that frequently affect your lower back.
A few hours or days after a back injury, you might feel severe pain. The intensity of pain may increase with certain actions, like bending, twisting your back, etc.
Taking painkillers, resting, and using ice or heat packs are the first line of treatment options. In mild cases, you can overcome the pain within a few weeks, but you feel a little sore. As the injury heals, introducing light stretching and strengthening exercises could aid recovery. Light stretching and strengthening exercises can help with your recovery.
If the pain doesn’t subside within a few weeks or if the pain increases over time, consult an expert spine doctor immediately.
Disc herniation (herniated discs)
Discs are soft, rubber-like materials present between every spinal vertebra. These discs act like cushions, and every disc has a nucleus surrounded by a strong outer layer. If the tough exterior is damaged by any means and the nucleus leaks out, it is referred to as a herniated disk.
Often, it is also called a slipped disc or ruptured disc. Though it commonly affects the lower back, it can happen in any part of the spine. Some people might not experience any symptoms, but others have pain, a numb feeling or tingling sensation, and a weak feeling in one or both limbs.
Growing older, lifting heavy objects, and sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of herniated discs.
Having a herniated disc doesn’t mean that you have to undergo back surgery. There are non-surgical treatment options available to treat a herniated disc. To manage pain, doctors may suggest over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy, and muscle relaxants until the disc heals. If the pain is severe, cortisone injections are directly injected into the affected area.
A microdiscectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures used to treat this condition.
Nerve Pinch or Compression
Inflammation due to an injury, disc herniation, obesity, or stress due to overuse can result in excess pressure on the nerves around the spine.
Sciatica is another condition in which the sciatic nerve located in the lower back is compressed, causing irritation, inflammation, etc.
Usually, if the pinched nerve compresses temporarily, the pain subsides when the pressure is relieved. But if the nerve pinch causes permanent nerve damage, it may lead to chronic back pain.
The treatment options for this condition might be similar to those for other types of back pain, especially for milder cases, which include taking rest, applying warm or cold compresses, and OTC pain medication. But in severe cases, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections might be the best options.
When non-surgical treatment fails to provide relief from pain, surgery might be the next best option. Spinal fusion is one of the most common surgical procedures used to treat this condition.
A vertebral fracture is defined as a dislocation or damage to any of the vertebrae in the spine, which is common in car accidents, falls, and collisions while playing high-intensity sports, etc.
Until the fracture heals, most people experience back pain. Wearing a back brace, physical therapy, and rehabilitation aid in recovering quickly and also help to manage pain until the injury heals.
Treatment for vertebral fractures depends on the severity. Minor fractures heal over time by taking more rest, and physical therapy aids in recovery. For pain, doctors may suggest oral medication or injections, depending on the severity.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are common surgical procedures used to treat fractures in severe cases.
Spondylolisthesis is another condition that causes lower back pain, which appears when any of the spinal vertebrae slip forward. It is commonly observed in the lower spine. The most common causes of this condition are trauma, spinal fractures, vertebral or disc degeneration, and hereditary. Certain sports, like gymnastics and weightlifting, can increase the risk of developing spondylolisthesis.
Severe lower back pain, which may radiate into the thighs, is the main symptom. Tenderness and stiffness are the other common symptoms.
Anti-inflammatories or epidural steroid injections can provide relief from pain. However, surgery is the best option in severe cases, and spinal decompression or fusion with decompression are the most common surgical procedures to treat spondylolisthesis.
Let it be any type of back pain; consult an expert spine doctor first. Your spine’s health is very important, so give it the care it deserves. For back pain treatment in Hyderabad, consult Dr. Surya Prakash, an experienced and one of the best spine surgeons in Hyderabad.